Words in Transit

I spent some time thinking, recently, about internships opportunities for translation students. In a previous post, I discussed an article by Sébastien Stavrinidis outlining some of the challenges to arranging internships for students. I proposed a new type of internship where students would volunteer to translate texts for humanitarian organizations and professional translators would volunteer to revise these translations, allowing students to gain work experience without having to relocate… something that is currently difficult for anglophone students studying translation in Toronto. It also would be a way to apply crowdsourcing to internships: in a traditional internship, students are revised by one or two translators, but in this kind of internship, students would receive feedback from various revisers, and the program would grow as more translators, students and organizations agreed to participate.

While talking with some of my students a few weeks ago, after they’d submitted their group projects (a translation for Action Contre la Faim), I decided that I would really like to pursue my internship idea. The students who spoke to me described the translation project very positively: they were excited that their translations would actually be used (instead of just being filed away somewhere) and they also felt happy to have helped a humanitarian organization.

So last week, when I probably should have been more spending time marking essays and assignments, I launched the wordsintransit.org website, which will be the main forum for bringing together students, professionals and non-profit organizations. I’ve already contacted a few students about participating in the project, and I’m in the process of contacting other translators and Quebec-based NPOs. In about a month, I and two colleagues will start the non-profit organization that will operate the Words in Transit initiative, and we’ll run it for a year on an experimental basis. I’ll be blogging about the initiative both here and on the Words in Transit website, so check back soon for more details.

If you’re interested in participating in the initiative, please let me know. You’ll find more details about how you can get involved here.

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